Date: 2013-09-10

NEW YORK, Sept. 10, 2013 – The Donaldson Adoption Institute today called on law enforcement officials, policymakers and adoption professionals nationwide to investigate and put a stop to activities such as "re-homing" – in which some Americans reportedly are using the internet to abandon their adopted children – and recommended legal, regulatory and practice changes to better protect children and to support families in crisis "so that no one ever feels that deserting their child is their last resort."

"Unfortunately, this is just one example of the kind of problematic adoption-related activity that’s occurring on the internet, especially through social media, without any real monitoring or regulation," said Adam Pertman, the Adoption Institute’s Executive Director. "The stories about `re-homing’ from Reuters and NBC News are certainly exceptions in the world of adoption, but they also are unnerving and should serve as a wakeup call for us all to finally pay attention and take much-needed action."

The Adoption Institute is conducting a multiyear, research-based project to address the historic changes that the Internet is instigating in adoption policy, practice and the lives of the affected children and families. The Institute has released a groundbreaking report on the subject, " Untangling the Web: The Internet’s Transformative Impact on Adoption," and is planning a second publication for late 2013.

In addition, the Institute is in its third year of a national initiative titled " Keeping the Promise" (based on its 2010 publication of the same name) whose goal is to instigate national and state reforms in law, policy and practice so that adopted children and their families receive the services and supports they need to be successful. "We simply have to create a system in which no family breaks up – through re-homing or in any other way – because they are not receiving the help they need."

"Untangling the Web" is the first-ever examination of the Internet’s impact on adoption. It concludes that this modern technology is having transformative, historic effects – positive and negative – while raising serious legal, ethical and procedural concerns that have yet to be addressed. Its findings include:

  • There is a growing "commodification" of adoption on the web, replete with dubious practices, and a shift away from the perspective that its primary purpose is to find families for children.
  • Finding birth relatives is becoming increasingly easy and commonplace, with significant institutional and personal implications, including the likely end of the era of "closed" adoption.
  • A growing number of young adoptees are forming relationships with birth relatives, sometimes without their adoptive parents’ knowledge and usually without guidance or preparation.

The Adoption Institute is the leading research, policy and education organization in its field. Its mission is to provide leadership that improves laws, policies and practices – through sound research, education and advocacy – in order to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption. For more information about the Institute and its work, go to or write to


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